Show us the data, say employees

New research has revealed a clear opportunity for businesses to improve how they use technology and data to monitor and assess the performance of their employees. Work by data science company Profusion has revealed that 61% of employees were comfortable with technology and data being used to monitor their output, activity or presence. However, 81% said that data must be made available to employees to enable them to challenge any interpretations.

Currently, only 26% of employees were certain they were provided with a copy of data in advance of reviews and only 25% said they are definitely empowered to challenge the interpretation. Worryingly, one in four employees were unaware or unsure about whether data was being used to monitor or assess their performance.

Crucially, 72% of employees believe that applying data to HR decisions could be better than the practices currently used by their employers. This number rises to 80% for BAME employees and 82% for disabled employees. Areas where data was seen as particularly important were in performance assessment and improving diversity and inclusion. 68% of all employees agree that using data is important to achieving an effective D&I agenda.

Fear of discrimination is the number one barrier to sharing personal information, followed by fears over data security and information confidentiality.

Natalie Cramp, CEO of data science company Profusion, said: “Many people believe that better use of data in HR could level the playing field and lead to fairer decision making. As a result, the vast majority of employees are actually comfortable with HR teams using more advanced analytics as long as it is transparent and they are given an element of control. The task for employers is to ensure that they educate their workforce on their data rights, create transparent and clear processes, and ensure they act responsibly and fairly.

“Currently, only a very small minority of companies use HR data to its full potential. Implemented correctly, a data-driven HR function can play a critical role in improving the wellbeing of staff, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and also radically enhance business performance and efficiency. There is a clear opportunity for companies to rethink how they approach HR – for example, by making their next HR team hire a data specialist.

“It’s also worth noting that 79% of employees think it is important to have human oversight in any data-based decision making. We couldn’t agree more – HR needs to keep the human element to provide safeguards and help maintain trust.”